Rain having negative impact on wheat harvest

WICHITA, Kansas – The recent rain we’ve gotten is helping the Sunflower state inch closer to getting out of a four year drought.

However, the rain couldn’t have a come at a worse time for many wheat farmers, who are in the middle of trying to harvest their crop for the season.

Farmers, like Alan Knotts in Ness City, have seen their wheat fields transformed into makeshift lakes.

“The wheat harvest has come to a stop, it was fairly good. No more rain than we had, it was yielding from 25 to 40,” said Knotts.

With six inches to close to a foot of rain in some parts of the state, Ag expert John Jenkinson says it isn’t making it any easier for many wheat farmers.

“The rain came a little bit too late, if we had this rain back in April and parts of May we’d be cutting 60 to 70 bushels an acre of wheat,” said Jenkinson.

Some farmers say they expect to be pulling in at least five bushels less in what was already expected to be a down year.

The rain is also putting a damper on the quality of the harvest.

“First of all, it bleaches the wheat which actually reduces the test rate which reduces the quality,” said Jenkinson.

The weather has left a lot of uncertainty going forward for farmers, like Knotts.

“I can’t really tell you if it’s going to prolong things or whether a strong wind could come through it could lay it all flat on the ground,” said Knotts.

Many farmers in the southern part of the state will look to finish the harvest in the beginning part of July.

Farmers in the rest of the state are expected to finish up cutting their wheat by the end of July.

The rain we’ve gotten in June will likely lower the expected total of 243 million bushels predicted for this year.

That estimated total was the lowest in the state since 1989.

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